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Atlanta, Ga. – April 12, 2017 – ARAUCO, a global producer of wood products, today conducted groundbreaking ceremonies for its new, state-of-the-art, $400 million particleboard plant located in Grayling, Mich. The facility is scheduled to be operational by late 2018.


The groundbreaking marked the official start of the construction phase for what will become the most modern particleboard plant in North America and the largest of its kind globally. Once completed, the plant will feature North America's largest single continuous particleboard press (170 ft.) and will be one of the most productive in the world. The plant's main structure will measure 820,000 ftwith an annual capacity of 452 million ft2 (800,000 m3).


Particleboard produced at the Grayling plant is expected to benefit ARAUCO's customers in the largely under-served Midwest market area. Its geographic location will improve the logistics of the entire chain of production, and support anticipated customer growth in the region. The world-class, particleboard products produced at the plant ultimately will be used in commercial and residential furniture, fixtures and cabinetry.


According to Kelly Shotbolt, President of ARAUCO North America, Grayling was chosen for the plant's location because it met all the required business criteria to serve the market, however the welcoming nature of the local business community and Michigan state officials has made the project a win-win for ARAUCO and the community as a whole.  


 "As we have stated previously, the Grayling project is mainly a customer-driven investment based on its logical and resource fiber fit," explained Shotbolt. "The outstanding support we have received from local and state government agencies, however, has resonated across our organization to solidify we made the right decision. We look forward to becoming a significant part of the local Grayling business community and providing career opportunities and economic stimulus in the North Michigan region." 


State and local officials, key contractors, and other project stakeholders joined ARAUCO in marking the construction milestone. Participants in the ceremonial groundbreaking included Shotbolt; Michigan Governor Rick Snyder; Gonzalo Zegers, Senior Vice-President International & Business Development, ARAUCO; Jake Elston, Vice President of Operations of ARAUCO North America; Kevin Shotbolt, Vice President Sales and Marketing, ARAUCO North America; Lloyd Hotchkiss, ARAUCO Grayling Plant Manager; Bob Dixon, Assistant Zoning Administrator, Charter Township of Grayling; and Paul Krepps, Global Business Development Manager, Michigan Economic Development Corporation.


"It's exciting to see ARAUCO put down roots in Northern Michigan and be part of our state's continued comeback," Gov. Snyder said. "Michigan offers the skilled talent and economic climate for an employer of this size to succeed, and we greatly appreciate ARAUCO's investment here and recognize the positive impact it will have for decades to come in the Grayling community."


More Efficient Use of Forest Resources/Environmental Certifications

The Grayling plant's raw fiber needs are going to be 100% supplied by residual wood sourced from nearby sawmills, logging operations and low-grade wood fiber traditionally left on the forest floor.The improved use of these resources will promote a healthier forest, a more efficient use of forest resources and support sustainable forest management practices in Michigan. All ARAUCO North America composite panel plants operate in a safe and environmentally sound manner and meet international standards along with federal and state requirements to drive product and environmental best practices and to keep our employees and contractors safe. The community can expect the Grayling plant to meet these same performance standards, as well as meet or exceed the permit requirements from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Grayling Charter Township.


Welcome Economic Stimulus

ARAUCO expects constructing the Grayling plant will create approximately 700 construction jobs, and running the plant will create approximately 200 direct jobs. It is also estimated that a manufacturing plant of this scale will create typically1-2 support jobs locally. The majority of recruitment for plant employment will begin in late 2017.